Baking Fun – Sweet, Sweet Smell of a Job Well Done

Yesterday I woke up in the mood to bake but had no idea what to make.  Here is what I made yesterday:

  1. Banana Bread
  2. Pumpkin Bread
  3. Stromboli with Italian herb dough 
  4. Blackberry stuffed sweet rolls

I chose the banana bread because I had 7 brown bananas hanging out on my counter.  The one boy was excited but then again he has a major sweet tooth and I don’t buy store made sweets for the house. 

I have a basic go to recipe for banana bread that I love.  I’ve tweaked and tweaked this recipe until it was just right to me.  I love a banana bread that tastes strongly of bananas, is moist and not spiced. 

The following recipe is always a hit at my house.

Banana Bread

banana bread

banana bread in a mini loaf pan

  • 6 overripe bananas
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to 340F. I put each item into the bowl one at a time and mix between each addition.  Pour into pan of choice and bake for 40-45 minutes.  Before baking I like to add chocolate chips to the top.  I tend to make these in a cupcake pan or mini loaf pan – it made 6 cupcakes and 4 mini loaves.

I usually add pumpkin to this recipe – 1 small can pumpkin, add 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup self-rising flour to the above recipe and it was a hit to everyone but Izzy.  This time she begged me to leave out the pumpkin so straight up banana bread it was.

The banana bread batter smells amazing.  I love the smell of it raw, I love the smell of it baking and definitely love the smell of it when it’s done. 

I was kind of sad though that it wouldn’t have that delicious pumpkin in it though.  I personally love pumpkin so I wondered if my recipe would work without bananas.

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin bread

pumpkin bread

  • 1 small can pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of self-rising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

The batter looked too dry/ thick so I added 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and it looked perfect.  A few of my kids came in and begged to taste.  The pumpkin bread batter was an instant hit.

I baked the same way as the banana bread but used white chocolate chips on top instead.  The kids loved it – even Izzy.

(I promise to take better pictures next time I bake!)


coming soon!

  • Stromboli with Italian herb dough 
  • Blackberry stuffed sweet rolls

Frugal Living – Homemade Laundry Soap

Mom's Super Laundry Sauce

Mom’s Super Laundry Sauce

I just got done making a double batch of laundry soap.  I’m always so excited about my savings and about how well the recipe I use works but I really HATE the actual process of making the soap.  I make a very concentrated formula so the smells completely overwhelms me while I’m making it.  I also hate standing over the stove stirring the soap.  But on the positive side, I know exactly what is in the laundry soap, it has minimal fragrance, it works really good and it’s super duper cheap!

I’ve tried lots of recipes over the years as I’m allergic to most commercial laundry soaps.  I find a recipe that I love and then sure enough a short while later the clothes start smelling terrible.  If you google search this you will find this to be the case for many do it yourselfers.  Some of them really leave the clothes not clean – funky smell.  What I’ve noticed is that when too much of the soap is used it doesn’t wash out properly.  Also not all of the homemade soaps dissolve properly in the washer.  It’s important to use a homemade soap recipe that dissolves easily in water.

I have finally found a recipe that I love!  Mom’s Super Laundry Sauce at

The ingredients are simple:

  1. 1 bar Fels Naptha
  2. 1 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
  3. 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  4. 4 cups hot water

I bought the first 3 ingredients at Walmart.  They were all located in the laundry section.  Prices were quite affordable

  1. 1 bar of Fels Naptha is $.97
  2. 1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax is $3.97 (76 oz = 10 cups)
  3. 1 box of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is $3.24 (55 oz = 5.5 cups)
Super Washing Soda, Fels Naptha, 20 Mule Team Borax, and Purex Crystals

Super Washing Soda, Fels Naptha, 20 Mule Team Borax, and Purex Crystals has a great walkthrough on how to make this laundry soap so definitely go check out their site to make this great soap.  I’ve been using this recipe for a year now and I love it.  I wash about 15 loads of laundry a week so have gone through a lot of this.

TIP 1:  What I’ve learned to make this process easier is to have your supplies ready.  Nothing sucks more than stirring the soap and it being ready and then realizing you haven’t mixed the washing soda and borax together. 

TIP 2:  This tip will save you a bunch of time but it’ll make your house stink!  The Felps Naptha can be dried out in the microwave which makes it crumble.  What I learned is that you should cut it into small blocks and space these out on a paper plate.  Microwave for 1 minutes 45 seconds.  Let cool down before touching because it’s very hot.  Izzy stated it looked like rice crispy treats.  As long as you’ve spaced the soap chunks out the microwaved soap will crumble quite nicely.

TIP 3:  After melting, mixing and stirring the soap is poured into two mason jars.  I learned that when you turn the soap over to separate that if you’ve done it correctly it’ll start to separate right away.  If it’s not separating then dump it all back in the cook pot and heat it some more. It really makes a difference to have it separate properly.

We have an ice cream scoop that holds about a tablespoon of the soap.  I also use Purex Crystals Lavender Blossoms because I love the scent.  When we have a smelly load we add a scoop of Sun Oxygen Cleaner.